The thought I remember having is that crypto-anarchism seemed to require being embedded in a well-functioning state, but that this assumption was kind of just waved away. I had this thought because so many of the people in Maximum City are just at the mercy of the slightly more powerful people around them -- paying protection money, not getting paid for work, paying bribes -- and there's not a well-functioning government that can help them. It seemed like said people would love a lot less anonymity ("hey! look! this guy is threatening to beat me up if I don't pay him every month! that's illegal!"), and would be well-served by tech infrastructure that makes them more visible.
Not sure about anyone else, but speaking from my own philosophising, you're subtly wrong/missing the point: it requires not having any of your critical physical substrate/infrastructure embedded in poorly-functioning state. The distinction is that, in a lot of (over-)simplified models, there is no physical substrate, so what kind of state it's embedded in is a vacuous question. Compare, eg, any (over-)simplified model of computation that doesn't consider physical problems like cosmic ray bitflips or hard drives dying in fires/wearing out (ie, most of them).
Maybe your point is that because crypto-anarchism appears to rest on this state-friendly assumption, it isn't "real" anarchism. I don't know too much about crypto-anarchism and haven't formed an opinion either way, but if it's as cozy with anarcho-capitalism as the quotes at the end make it out to be, I'd probably agree with you.
(edited for formatting)
Anyway. Anarchism is actually a broader concept than believing that state is fundamentally misaligned with the collective. That's a branch of anarchism if anything. A better definition of anarchism is the belief that every institution or authority has to be able to justify its presence and should be dismantled if it can't (quoting Noam Chomsky). Following that defintion, I'd say that crypto-anarchism is anarachism where redistribution of power is done via technological means, with an emphasis on technological solutions to privacy and trust.
It's like we won't believe we live at the edge of a dystopia it until there are flying cars.
As amazing, magical and occasionally necessary things like TOR, bitcoin and I2P are what truly is wonderful is that basic trust, that small but significant ∆, much more than clever algorithms and data structures is what makes our lives work.
Staying very high level, we're primed to think of privacy in human-defined terms in a way. Your mom snooping over your shoulder on what you're typing/viewing at age 12 on your first PC is the cause.
As a result, with tech privacy, we do a notional looking up and looking around, like you are, to evaluate it... ok, I know 20 people have my finsta, I only give out my number to like less than 2 people a year, I don't have a google account so no need to clear my cookies or use a VPN, and so on...
What you're not accounting for that:
- the very small amount of stuff you do let leak out because "most people can be trusted most of the time" gets ingested by that "most" delta. There is one or few very untrustworthy entities, you're right, but they still touch your online presence. This is the difference maker because of the scale these entities can work at (BlueKai is an example).
- Shadow contacts, and so on, are a thing. You get sucked in either way by other's bad behavior
What I realised growing up is that every day someone is forced to give a percentage or their profits or face jail time, someone gets killed because we socialise the cost of war, people get spied on by state actors and surveillance systems.
All of this despite most people being nice.
The centralisation of power is a weakness and it's being exploited by those who are not nice.
You are confusing the NEED to trust with the ABILITY to trust - and the are almost opposite things in some regards.
You need to trust car drivers to stop at a traffic light not to run over you. This is disempowering: your life is in their hands. If we can remove the need to trust drivers (e.g. with automatic braking) it's good.
If you CAN trust your neighbor to water your plants when you are away this is empowering. You can freely choose what to do.
As a side note, traditional anarchists are all about mutual aid and solidarity, while "anarcho-capitalists" support selfishness (links below)
(By the way, it's written Tor, not TOR)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mutual_aid_(organization_theor... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solidarity https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Selfishness
You may like the book Mutual Aid by Kropotkin.
There are many bad actors out there government and commercial.
A single entity or group of entities keeping the faith this long and not busting open the SN wallet w/ all those btc's is an insane commitment to values. I'm not sure someone could really pull that off. And, short of something like a multisig key for that wallet was held between a few core folks, of which Finney held a key (DNS root servers works like this at ICANN I believe), I'm not sure a group of people could hold strong for this long, given the price rises.
Isn't it possible that whatever person or group of people comprise Satoshi just decided to throw away the key, making willpower irrelevant?
It seems likely (or at least plausible) that Satoshi is a bitcoin billionaire.
Imagine having a thumb drive or computer in your possession with more value than all of the gold at Fort Knox.
I'd want to be anonymous too.
If those assumptions break, BTC might become even more interesting (read: chaotic) than it already is. Imagine injecting 1M coins into the market.
But, with institutional players getting into BTC now, I guess such concerns no longer make sense.
Knowing who or where someone is sitting with 40 billion dollars in cash that can be teleported instantly and irreversibly to anyone, anywhere on the planet is something that I would be surprised if they were not interested in. Every other system of moving large amounts of money long distances is under some form of sovereign control, either via bank/wire regulation, or customs searches in the case of physical gold or currency.
My first talk on Bitcoin and digital currencies in 2011 was titled "Financing The Revolution" for precisely this reason. Cryptocurrencies, due to their censorship resistance and inherently transnational nature, ultimately pose a threat to sovereign nations if they remain open access and fungible.
The CIA asked one of the bitcoin core developers to come to Langley and present to them on the matter in 2011. It's been on their radar for a while.
: https://fahrplan.events.ccc.de/camp/2011/Fahrplan/events/459... https://vimeo.com/27653912
I'm inclined to nitpick your argument about cryptocurrencies being a threat to sovereign nations. Isn't everything that isn't censorable and is resilient to attack a threat to everything else? Your argument could be used to advocate authoritarianism.
It wouldn't be, except that circumstantial evidence suggests that the creator(s) of bitcoin were involved in early mining and possibly (perhaps even likely) have access to approximately $40B USD worth of the currency, having the mining rewards from some ~22,000 early blocks at 50 bitcoin each.
There's also other circumstantial evidence that suggests that the keys may be lost, the person/people who have/had the keys may be dead, that the person/people who mined those blocks would likely never spend them, et c. But the risk is there, and it's nonzero. Getting more information on the matter, and perhaps an identity, from the published information available (email@example.com) is a straightforward and low-cost task for nation-states.
Almost all of the other people who have anywhere near that much bitcoin had to give their name and address and bank account to someone, somewhere, or they were one of the few dozen of us computer nerds who were mining way back then, and likely not terrorists/violent revolutionaries.
(People with $40B USD in a bank account aren't usually in that list.)
If you're in that exclusive club, it pays to know an exhaustive list of everyone else who is in that club.
Caveat: this won’t work against global passive adversaries (those who can see a significant portion of traffic going in and out), nor against governments willing to intercept and implant the hardware with backdoors.
I find it interesting that in the early days of crypto, people were hopeful that such fates might be avoided. But here we are, mostly subservient to a few large corporations —- and also to each other, since we carefully watch what we say.
In other words, the goal is to widely broadcast as many thoughts as possible, for most people. That seems to be in direct opposition with what the early creators of crypto imagined would happen, which is a neat outcome (for better or worse).
“crypto-fascism” uses the greek prefix, also used in the word “cryptography”, while “crypto-anarchism” just use “crypto” as a shorthand for “cryptography” (and unsurprisingly, this use has also been adopted by “crypto-currencies”, which themseves originat in the crypto-anarchist movement).
Discover insight tokens and trade them for inner peace.
To crib a Goodreads review of it, it's actually about:
> Bartlett spends the bulk of the book analyzing the impact and development of the internet on human life:
To get to the point, what is really interesting about the crypto-anarchist movement is a concept Bartlett does a good job explaining. The cipherpunks, for all their libertarian wackadoodle beliefs, believed that if you could enable 3 pillars of internet use, the impact of how the internet could be used would be radically improved. Or like, those 3 pillars would enable something really "meaningful" about internet use..
Those three pillars are natively digital...
1) private browsing
2) private communications
3) private spending
If you look at how the past 20-30 years turned out, 1 and 2 came into existence and proved to have immensely impact: Tor and PGP. Tor perhaps didn't shake things too much although has its niche, but consumer-accessible encryption today plays fundamental roles in internet infra basic functionality the same way that web servers and DNS does.
So, the cipherpunks sort of called it accurately on 1 and 2. Along comes 3 in Oct 21, '08 with bitcoin's white paper. At a minimum, that means btc merits attention in my mind, as it comes out of a community that has some other very prescient commentary on how the internet could, should, and would eventually work.
Without rules, without a centralized arbitrator of consequences for breaking rules including the arbitrator, the bad part of human nature will prevail and destroy stability in the long run.
ex) Communism, anarcho-cults, narco-anarchy
Most of the ill in the world has something to do with gatekeeping replacing speculative activity.